Raila says Gbagbo must give up power
Laaska News January 5,2011
Written By:Mary Daraja, (KBC)
Another high level joint mission will be dispatched to Ivory Coast to continue discussions with the two bitter rivals Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara.
Speaking on arrival from West Africa, Prime Minister Raila Odinga who led the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States mission to Ivory Coast stated that Gbagbo must cede power to the legitimate President Alassane Ouattara.
Raila said that Ouattara pledged to accord his rival a dignified exit once he concedes defeat.
He said that if Gbagbo fails to relinquish power AU and ECOWAS might resort to military intervention but as a final measure.
The PM said his mission made good progress since they managed to convince Gbagbo to lift the blockade around the hotel, which was the temporary headquarters of the President-elect.
He added that the incumbent also agreed to negotiate a peaceful end to the crisis. Raila who was appointed by the AU as chief mediator in Ivory Coast crisis said in the event that Gbagbo surrenders power peacefully, he would face no charges.
Raila warned Africa against tolerating a tradition where the incumbents lose elections and refuse to accept the verdict of the people and then eventually negotiate a power-sharing arrangement.
Elsewhere, as Southern Sudanese gear up for the January 9th referendum, major challenges stare the South leadership incase it chooses to secede.
An estimated 2 million returnees to southern Sudan states of South Kordofan, Warrap, and Northern Bahr El Ghazal provinces lack basic services and continue to face immense challenges of water, education, and health care.
This is according to the International Organization of Migration. Also, there are approximately 2 million southerners living in northern Sudan.
It is unclear what will happen to them if the South secedes. Thought in support of secession, southerners living in the north fear they may be marginalized, discriminated against and harassed by Khartoum government.
Kenya which spearheaded Sudan peace talks cautioned leaders of both the South and North against ignoring other unresolved issues that may threaten peace in that country.
Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Prof. George Saitoti urged the two regions to always consult on weighty issues.
The Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in 2005 in Naivasha, Kenya ending a 22 year civil war between the North and South.